SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: Whitney Tilson Meets Captain Obvious

Monday, May 24, 2010

Whitney Tilson Meets Captain Obvious

Whitney Tilson is rubbing one out again I am sure after watching last night's 60 Minutes report about the SEED boarding school in Washington DC. I can imagine Whitney with his eyes closed, kneeling over the bowl, thinking how wonderful he is, how great him and his ilk are. Whitney even wrote about it.
Speaking of great TV, 60 Minutes last night did a wonderful segment on Washington DC’s SEED charter school, one of the only charter boarding schools. The very high cost ($35,000) (and other difficulties) of running a boarding school make it very difficult to replicate (there’s one more in Baltimore, with another planned for Cincinnati), but the school is doing great things.
But, and it is a big but.

If you watch the video, which is linked above, you hear several things voiced by Byron Pitts starting at about 4:50 into the story:
Unlike most schools, there are two periods of English and two periods of math per day in middle school........ Upperclassmen are required to read 45 minutes a day in addition to their homework. Classes are small with 10 to 15 students.
Hmmm, two periods for math and English? I am impressed. Sounds like block scheduling to me. Block scheduling which is already being done, and has been done for quite some time.

Forty-five minutes of reading for upperclassman? My child in third grade is required to read twenty minutes. Fifth graders I know are required to read forty minutes. So forty five minutes is not that impressive.

But wanna know what is impressive? The classes that have 10-15 students!!!!! This is a fantasy for the a teacher. In fact if you asked a teacher if you would rather have a class this small or a night with Sarah Silverman the teacher would choose the small class size.

I mean the obviousisity of the above statement is like knowing the sun rises in the east without having to see it rise. A class this small students can and will learn. A teacher can spend more time with the students, and more time involved in teaching.

Students in high poverty, crime infested neighborhoods need the soothing of a smaller class. They need the one to one, they need the attention, the need the calmness and tranquility that such a class provides.

But there is no money for this. No money for building more schools, and the money allocated for smaller class size has been misappropriated. But, there are people with money out there that can help. The hedge fund managers like Whitney (Glory Hole) Tilson. But unfortunately it won't happen for two reasons. One, is that there is no tax break, or profit in it for him. And two, Whitney won't be able to write things such as:
Funny story: as I was rushing to catch my flight at JFK on Saturday, I heard a rhythmic “clap…clap…clap-clap-clap” and thought to myself: “That’s got to be KIPP.” Sure enough, when I went over to talk to them, it was the students from KIPP AMP in Brooklyn
Whitney catching another flight? I just try to keep in mind what Dock Ellis said about George Steinbrenner in 1977.


California Teacher said...

I thought there was a tax break for charter investors.
Check this out from Democracy Now:

New York Teacher said...

There IS a tax break for these wealthy investors. Otherwise why would they bother "reforming" education?? When have you ever known a rich person to do anything for anyone, much less poor people, unless something was it in for them???